Freshwater aquarium shark types

The Freshwater aquarium shark types are very popular in various worldwide freshwater aquarists. Aquarium Sharks are beautiful and attractive.

Even though we call these beautiful fish as freshwater aquarium sharks, they are not actual Sharks. They are Shark looking pet fish that you can raise in your fish tank.

Most of these aquarium sharks are belong to the catfish or carp fish family.

Even they are not actual Sharks, these fish are perfect pets if you like to keep a freshwater pet shark in your fish tank.

Basic conditions for freshwater sharks

Now you might think that, can you raise an Aquarium Shark within your fish tank. This part of the post will talk about the most basic condition you should have to keep them.

First of all, These fish are getting bigger. So you must have enough size freshwater fish tank to keep them.

You need to have a fish tank around 75 Gallons to 300 Gallons for them.

These fish need to have enough space to swim. So a bigger tank will be always the best choice for them. Some of these Sharks grow around 20 inches.

They need to have a clear environment to swim nicely. You can see the awesome view of them that they swim like an actual Shark fish.

These fish can be aggressive, So you must consider a lot when adding tank mates for them. You no need to keep them alone but only with matching tank mates.

They need to have a cleaner environment. So clean freshwater fish is a requirement for the same as most other freshwater fish types.

Freshwater aquarium shark types

When talking about the freshwater aquarium sharks types there are several shark fish we can pet in our freshwater fish tanks.

The basic conditions that I have explained also similar to all these freshwater shark fish types. Each of them has a unique look and most of them have common behaviours.

We can’t add all the Freshwater aquariums shark types to our fish tank. There are few that we can keep as pets. Also, these sharks are really beautiful.

1. Bala Shark

Bala Shark freshwater aquarium Shark type - | Author - Dstp
Bala Shark / Silver Shark

This Freshwater Shark variety is also known as the Silver Shark,  Tricolor Shark and Shark Minnow in some countries.

This is a very popular freshwater Shark species for the freshwater aquariums. The scientific name for them is Balantiocheilos melanopterus. 

This fish is coming from the Cyprinidae family. The look of the fish is similar to a shark. They have a long silver colour shiny body with black – while lines in fins.

The upper fins a straight same as an actual shark. Lower tail fins also look and strong to as an actual shark. This is one best freshwater Shark for your aquarium.

They are very peaceful when they are small. They also can grow up to 20 inches. When they are small they will live with any other peaceful fish.

Care details and behaviour

Tank space is one of an important factor for this pet Shark as they grow bigger in your fish tank.

Their origin is Thailand. Bala Shark needs to have a fish tank that is minimum 100 Gallons at least 4 feet long and the water temperature needs to be 22-26° C.

pH count of the tank water should be in pH 6.5 to 7.5.

This freshwater Shark is getting an Omnivore diet. You don’t need to feed them meat as like the food of an actual Shark.

This shark is not hard to keep. Once you have enough space and required water parameters, they will live nice in your fish tank for a long time.

Even we consider and naming this freshwater fish as a shark, the Silver Shark or as in the name of the heading Bala Shark is not that much aggressive fish.

A baby Bala Sharks you can see in the aquarium fish market size of around 3 inches. But never forget that they are going to get bigger and longer.

Don’t forget! you are going to keep a shark in your fish tank :P. Just give enough space and they will be a good pet for you.


As a summerise here what you need to consider for keeping a Bala Shark in your fish tank.

  • Care-level – Easy
  • Fish family – Balantiocheilos melanopterus
  • Water condition – Freshwater
  • Water parameters – 22-26° C and pH 6.5 to 7.5
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Temperament – Not aggressive over similar size fish types.
  • Minimum tank size – 100 Gallons.

2. Redtail Shark

Redtail Shark freshwater aquarium Shark type | | DSC_5292
Redtail Shark

This is another most beautiful freshwater Shark species. The unique black body with red colour tails is making them so beautiful.

This Shark variation is semi-aggressive and smaller in body size. The look of this fish is very unique.

This fish is also known as Bicolor Shark by some people. The name Redtail is because of their unique look. This fish also can know as a fish with territorial behaviour.

The distinctive look of them making them stand out in your fish tank.

Care details and behaviour

Redtail shark needs to have a freshwater tank with a temperature of 22-26° C. The water pH count should be in pH 6.5 to 7.5.

They are not that much bigger so a 50 – 75 Gallon tank will be enough for them. They will grow 6 inches as their max size.

Their origin country is Thailand. This freshwater Shark is getting an Omnivore diet. So no need to feed any meats for them

You must avoid adding them with long fin fish types since they will attack and bite their long fins. Also, they are not like to live together with other Freshwater Shark types.

Also, they are not like one another, So it’s better to keep one of them in your fish tank when they are getting bigger. This fish is from the Cyprinidae family.

When setting up the tank, You need to consider to prepare hiding spots for them. You can use plants, driftwood, and rocks, stones to make their hiding spots.

Also, this fish is also one of the best fish for your planted fish tank.


This is the summary of the details of this fish. You need to consider these basic details when caring for them.

  • Care-level – Easy.
  • Fish family – Cyprinidae family.
  • Water condition – Freshwater.
  • Water parameters – 22-26° C and pH 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Diet – Omnivore.
  • Temperament – Semi aggressive.
  • Minimum tank size – 50-75 Gallons.

3. Iridescent shark

Iridescent Shark freshwater aquarium Shark type | | author - Melanochromis
Iridescent Shark

This is another fish that we can into our fish tank as a Freshwater Shark fish. This fish also very similar to an actual shark by their body shape and with the way the swim.

This fish is a type of Catfish. And they considering as Freshwater shark.

This fish will grow into a large size. They also have a long life span like 20 years. But thy must have required conditions in your fish tank.

Care details and behaviour

This fish can live in the freshwater that has a temperature of 22 to 26° C with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.

They need to have a larger size tank since they grow closer to 50 inches. The minimum tank size can be different by the knowledge and the resource people.

Basically, since they grow larger and since they need a larger fish tank 200 Gallons to 300 Gallon tanks would be good for Iridescent shark

They are peaceful when they small but can eat smaller fish types when they are growing up.

Avoid adding smaller fish types with them. As the smaller fish can be their diet at night.

The origin of this Shark fish in the Mekong River. They do not act like a monster fish. And they are technically a Catfish.

They need to have enough space to swim on the tank on both sides. When they don’t have required tank condition they can be aggressive and get sick quickly.

This Freshwater aquarium Shark type is taking the Omnivore diets.


The summarizing if the basics of this freshwater shark are like this. These conditions will help you to keep them nice.

  • Care-level – Not easy or not much hard.
  • Fish family – Pangasiidae family.
  • Water condition – Freshwater.
  • Water parameters – 22-26° C and pH 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Diet – Omnivore.
  • Temperament – Semi aggressive after growing up.
  • Minimum tank size – 200 – 300 Gallons.

4. Columbian Shark

When talking about the Freshwater Shark fish types, this Shark also has a prime place.

The Columbian Shark is also technically a Catfish. But we are introducing them as a Shark fish for freshwater tanks.

This fish also grow into a large size.  This fish has a high fin which makes them identical. Also, they can live with most of the other freshwater fish types.

Care details and behaviour

This is a peaceful fish by their nature. So they not getting aggressive or harm other tank mates.

The water parameters for this fish is 23-26° C temperature and pH 7.0-7.5. This is a freshwater fish.

Since they grow up to 10 inches, a 75 Gallons tank would be ideal for them. So this fish will get enough space to swim inside the tank.

The origin of this fish in Central America, North America and South America. This is basically a Catfish type.

This will be a good tank mate for your freshwater fish. They are taking an Omnivore diet as their foods.

But the care level for this is not easy. So this is not a good fish for beginners. They should keep by an experienced person.


The summary for this Freshwater Columbian Aquarium Shark is like this.

  • Care-level – Hard.
  • Fish family – Arius jordani
  • Water condition – Freshwater.
  • Water parameters – 22-26° C and pH 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Diet – Omnivore.
  • Temperament – peaceful.
  • Minimum tank size – 75 Gallons.

5. Giant pangasius Shark

pangasius Shark freshwater aquarium Shark type | | Author - Hectonichus
Pangasius Shark

This is another giant Freshwater Aquarium Shark type that popular between Freshwater Shark lovers.

This is basically is another Catfish variety that considers as a Freshwater Shark. Also, this Shark variety is similar to the Iridescent shark.

In the look and the behaviour, they are similar. This shark is also known as the Paroon shark. 

They have a different look sharp fin in their top. This fin is looking sharper than the Iridescent shark. Als this look making them look like an actual shark.

This fish also getting bigger. So same as the Iridescent shark, this one also needs to have a big fish tank since they grow larger.

Other care details are very similar to the Iridescent shark.

6. Albino Rainbow Shark

By the name Albino, you can guess what they look like. They have whitish colour body red tail, reddish fins and red colour albino looking eyes.

These fish are looking very unique and they are the albino version of the Rainbow Shark. Rainbow shark is a very similar one to the Redtail Shark.

So this Albino Rainbow Shark also has similar behaviours to the Redtail shark.

Care details and behaviour

This is also a semi-aggressive fish. So you should consider when choosing tank mates for them. This fish is also from the Cyprinidae family.

This Freshwater Shark fish can be bigger up to 6 inches. So they are not a very big variation but a very popular variation of Shark.

A 50 – 75 Gallons tank is will be enough for them. The water parameters are 22-26° C. The water pH count should be in pH 6.5 to 7.5.

With the required conditions, this fish can live in your tank around 5-8 years.

They will take Omnivore diets as their main food. This fish is love to live in planted aquariums also. You can set up your aquarium with plants and rocks for them.

Having hiding pots in the fish tank will make this fish happy. It would be a good avoid adding other shark variation with them since they are getting aggressive.


The summarized details for Albino Rainbow shark is showing below.

  • Care-level – Normal/Moderate.
  • Fish family – Cyprinidae family.
  • Water condition – Freshwater.
  • Water parameters – 22-26° C and pH 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Diet – Omnivore.
  • Temperament – Semi aggressive.
  • Minimum tank size – 50-75 Gallons.


The are several freshwater fish types that we can add as freshwater sharks. Even they are considered as Freshwater Aquarium Shark fish types, they are not actual Sharks.

Most of them are from Catfish variations and most of them are getting bigger in body size. In this post, the max size and care detail are exposed for each Shark type.

By considering those factors, you can get a clear idea about each type of these Freshwater Sharks, their behaviours and their requirements.

In each part, I have added a summary under each fish to clarify their basics.

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